November 10, 2013 1:15 am

Spoiler Alert! This Sunday, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Mike Massimino Discuss Gravity

Neil deGrasse Tyson and astronaut Mike Massimino discuss the movie, Gravity

Credit: © Warner Bros.

When we recorded Cosmic Queries: Gravity, the Movie a few weeks ago, comic co-host Chuck Nice wasn’t the only person who hadn’t seen the movie.

But there was no way Neil and our guest, 2-time Space Shuttle astronaut Mike Massimino, could answer your questions without spilling the beans on some of what happened in the movie. (More beans got spilled last week at StarTalk Live at Town Hall in NYC which was all about, you guessed it, Gravity.) But by then, at least, I’d seen the movie.

So let me tell you straight out that if you listen to this Sunday’s podcast, there will be spoilers, and you won’t have enough time or warning to get out of their way.

But a funny thing happened, at least for me, when I did finally see the movie. Even though I knew what to expect in a few instances, those “spoilers” were far overshadowed by the benefit I got from something Mike Massimino says in this episode. He gave the movie two thumbs up for capturing space: the look of it, the silence, and the way it feels to really be out there.

He should know. Mike flew on two Space Shuttle flights, STS-109 Columbia and STS-125 Atlantis, both missions to service the Hubble Space Telescope. He performed two spacewalks on each, totaling over 30 hours.

If Mike hadn’t said that, I’m not sure I would have gotten the same level of enjoyment of and appreciation for the incredible achievement the movie is. But when a guy like Mike tells you that a movie realistically captures what it feels like to be in space, you believe it.

The theme running through both the movie and this week’s episode is that, as Mike says, “Space is a dangerous business.” He talks about his training, NASA’s plans if there ever were a problem with his missions, and even the time he tore his glove while outside the Shuttle repairing the Hubble.

This is of course an episode of Cosmic Queries, and you all asked some great questions. To answer them, Neil and Mike discuss weightlessness and free fall, the physics of reaction, recoil and rotation, the effect of weightlessness on your ability to think and function, fire in zero gravity, and much, much more. You’ll also learn what an emesis bag is, why your head gets bigger in space, and the efficacy of personal propulsion in zero gravity through the release of… well, you get the point.

And if you don’t, I don’t want to spoil it for you.

Listen to Cosmic Queries: Gravity, the Movie this Sunday, November 10th at 7:00 PM ET on our website, iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!

–Jeffrey Simons

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